Anyone that has ever come through the tunnel and onto the Las Vegas Speedway during Electric Daisy Carnival will attest, there’s no festival in the world that can match it for decadence. With twelve stages, eighteen fairground rides, and about 450,000 people, it’s one of the world’s biggest dance music festivals and celebrated its 21st year in suitably mind-blowing fashion by improving almost every area of the event.The logistics nerds would do well to travel to EDC Las Vegas to get some insight into how this incredibly slick operation goes down. From light design to the management of crowd flow, every detail of the event has been considered and optimized for efficiency, whilst bringing in over $1.3bn to Las Vegas.Here are five things that any festival, big or small, could learn from Insomniac’s EDC Las Vegas.
Don’t Skimp on ProductionEach of the twelve music stages had its own distinct design and feel, whilst maintaining the highest standard of visual production and sound design. The result was a dizzying array of lights and sound, and enough stimulation to keep even the youngest kandi ravers engaged for three long days.Insomniac made the most of the relatively small space and diversified the offerings within the narrow aesthetic of EDM. The expense report for the production would make fascinating reading, and while they have been at the forefront of moving dance music forward, they are arguably just as well known for their visuals.
Take Health & Safety Very SeriouslyMake no mistake, this is a high-risk event. EDM festivals on this scale have to be able to function like hospitals on account of the size of the crowds, the heat, and the levels of drug and alcohol consumption.Insomniac’s director of Health and Safety Maren Steiner is one of the industry’s most respected figures and said in 2015 that her team’s response time to a medical emergency was under six minutes. This year the festival, unfortunately, had one death, as well as sixteen off-site hospital transfers and over 1,000 on-site medical visits. While no tragedy can be excused and event promoters should always push for the safety of its patrons, Insomniac’s mass medical infrastructure prove the festival is doing all it can to create a safe environment for attendees.
Get Great VolunteersWhile almost every festival will utilize volunteers in some shape or form, EDC’s 400-strong Ground Control team is a model that all large festivals should emulate. The passionate group of ravers are there to act as the first point of call for anyone that is having difficulty at the event. They are on the front lines and extremely visible in every corner of grounds and can alert security, medical staff or police of any problems. Take time to train your volunteers, organize them, and make sure that they understand what their role entails at your event. In exchange for their work, you should welcome them into the family and encourage them to take ownership over the festival.
Provide Free WaterLargely an extension of their health and safety logistics, free water is hugely important part of EDC. With temperatures soaring over 100F even at night, and the compromised physical state of many of the attendees, having ample and readily available free water should be mandatory for all festivals.There were four filling stations as well as an unlimited supply of bottles being handed out in the chill out zone. Staff were also wandering around the site providing bottles of water to anyone that needed them. Yes, it would be better if all that plastic wasn’t being used, but it’s the price you pay to keep the event as safe as possible.
Have a Stellar Social Media PresenceInsomniac’s media team is well-known as being one of the most organized in the industry. A team of thirty photographers roam the festival grounds with specific assignments, while an editorial staff produces daily content to strict deadlines to roll out recap coverage first thing the following morning. Operating out of a central membrane in the middle of the Speedway, the media staff were busy both documenting and posting every element of the festival, and launching the new website for their forthcoming festival Escape. Perhaps only Insomniac has the budget to work on this kind of scale, but having a clear strategy and an efficient media area is a lesson any festival planner can take onboard.